Thursday, 24 October 2013

From Facebook to fansubs: user-generated translation

The second lecture in this year’s dissertation seminar series at CeTranS, saw guest speaker Saverio Perrino, give an engaging talk on ‘user-generated translation’, an area that has seen a dramatic rise in prominence over the last decade as social interaction and collaboration via the internet has become commonplace.

The presentation covered three different ways in which user-generated translations are currently used. Saverio first touched on collaborative dictionaries and wikis, such as, which get better the more people contribute to them. He then went on to discuss software and website localisation, pointing to the trend of big players such as Facebook and Twitter choosing to rely on volunteer members translating their sites, rather than using professional translation services.

Finally he focused on audiovisual translations such as ‘fansubs’, which are subtitles produced by amateurs, now shared via the web. He noted that the speed at which these user-generated subtitles are produced is increasing pressure on the Film and TV industry to have officially translated versions available more quickly.

He concluded by stating that for bad or good, user-generated translation is here to stay but that it’s still up for debate as to whether it will have a detrimental effect on the professional translation industry.

Saverio also answered some questions about the use of translation services at BBC Worldwide, where he works as Foreign Language Versions Coordinator.

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